SOUTH Western Railway has apologised to commuters who spent a freezing night stranded on a broken-down train as Arctic weather caused travel misery.

Hampshire has seen some of the worst incidents triggered by Storm Emma, with heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures resulting in major disruption that began on Thursday and continued yesterday.

Drivers and rail passengers bore the brunt of the crisis but the emergency services were also hit.

South Central Ambulance Service urged people with powerful 4x4 vehicles to come forward and help them transport staff around the region.

An ambulance had to be towed out of the snow at Breamore and one of three fire engines called to an incident at The Green Dragon pub at Brook also had to be pulled clear.

Train services finished early yesterday as snow and ice continued to take their toll on the rail network.

In a message to passengers South Western Railway said: “We are urging you not to attempt to travel. If you have already travelled please return as early as possible.

“We cannot guarantee to get you to your destination this afternoon.”

It followed the all-night ordeal suffered by at least 100 passengers who boarded the 5.35pm service from Waterloo to Bournemouth on Thursday.

The train broke down near New Milton but commuters were still stuck on the train yesterday morning after a night with no heating and only limited food and drink.

Photographs posted on social media showed passengers trying to sleep in luggage racks above the seats, with one disgruntled commuter branding the rail service “a joke”.

Passengers said they endured more than 15 hours of freezing conditions and claimed they received no information from South Western Railway between 1am and 6am.

The company has apologised to customers caught up in the drama.

In a statement issued yesterday morning the company said: “They have all been taken to Bournemouth station, where Southern Western Railway staff are providing hot food and drinks.

“Our staff, together with Network Rail, have battled tirelessly throughout the night to try to get trains moving in very challenging conditions.”